They say that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Feeling involved in an organisation is key to enjoying any role, but for employers, there’s even more reason to make sure their team feel engaged in their jobs.
The notion of employee engagement is becoming increasingly important to businesses as they realise the power of a driven and invested workforce. At its most effective, employee engagement not only results in contented and high-achieving team members, but has a significant impact on business productivity and development. Here we look at why employee engagement is so vital to business success and some of the ways employers can improve levels of engagement within their organisations.
How much difference can employee engagement make?
Simply put, considerable difference. As reported by global recruitment specialists Randstad Mena, research into the impact of employee engagement found that productivity was improved by 18%, employee turnover was reduced by 40% and there were 62% fewer accidents in organisations with the highest levels. With substantial findings like these, it’s no surprise that employers are taking notice.
It makes perfect sense that employees who feel happy in their jobs work harder and are less likely to look around for other opportunities. With the knowledge that their efforts directly feed into the objectives and direction of the company they work for, engaged employees can understand the value and purpose of their work in the wider scheme of the business. Buoyed by respect and support from their employer, team members are inspired to consistently produce their best, leading to better relationships with managers and other team members alike.
What’s more, when employees feel empowered as valued members of a team they are far more likely to work in original and creative ways. A business with high employee engagement will tend to be far more innovative in its approach, thanks to the freedom and support that its team members have to seek out the most effective working techniques and cost-saving ideas. Conversely, it’s much more difficult for new working practices to flourish in an organisation where employees do not feel motivated to look for them because they feel underappreciated.
What are the factors that create an engaged workforce?
The case for investing in employee engagement is clear, but many businesses are still not getting the balance right. According to employee engagement champions, Engage for Success, multiple surveys show only a third of UK workers would describe themselves as engaged, which in terms of international engagement levels, puts the UK just ninth out of the world’s twelve largest economies by GDP (Kenexa 2009).
Thankfully, there are many well-documented ideas to help businesses combat a lack of engagement and make employee engagement a fundamental part of their company culture.
Link employee success to that of the business
By aligning team members’ career progress to the wider aims of the business, employees can invest in their own development and that of the company at the same time. One big motivational factor is the ability to see how the work you do carries a business forward.
Look after employee wellbeing
People are the heart of any business, so it pays to take an interest in your employees and what makes them tick. Having a policy of open and honest communication, encouraging them to come forward with any problems and spending time building relationships outside of work makes employees feel valued as people, not just for their skills.
Invest in personal development
Show employees that their own success is important to you and the business by providing opportunities for training, coaching and mentoring. Consult them for their input, after all, they know better than anyone what works and what doesn’t.
Play to employee strengths
Making sure employees are placed in the right jobs is crucial for employee engagement. Team members who feel confident they can achieve what is required of them are much more likely to give their best.
Don’t let hard work go unnoticed
Recognising and rewarding your employees’ individual achievements goes a long way to making them feel engaged. As engagement improves, it’s important to consistently acknowledge and praise the standout successes that should hopefully become more and more frequent.
Businesses that effectively embrace these changes necessary to boost employee engagement will find they reap the benefits, in the shape of better rates of retention, improved efficiency and a happier working environment.